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This Week in Nature : Jul 5, 2012

Stanford University's Stephen Quake and his colleagues show that it's possible to sequence the entire prenatal genome in a non-invasive manner. "Molecular counting of parental haplotypes in maternal plasma by shotgun sequencing of maternal plasma DNA allows the inherited fetal genome to be deciphered non-invasively," Quake et al. report in Nature this week. "Non-invasive determination of the fetal genome may ultimately facilitate the diagnosis of all inherited and de novo genetic disease," the team adds. Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study.

A team led by investigators at the Ontario Cancer Institute shows that the mutation IDH1(R132H) increases hematopoietic progenitors and alters epigenetics in a mouse model. Writing in Nature, the authors say their study could shed light on mechanistic links between mutations in IDH1 and human acute myeloid leukemia.

Researchers in France and Australia report on a link between the SUV39H1-H3K9me3-HP1α pathway and the stability of TH2 cells. This pathway ensures TH2 lineage stability by helping to maintain the silencing of TH1 loci, the authors write. " Despite showing normal differentiation, both SUV39H1-deficient TH2 cells and HP1α-deficient TH2 cells, in contrast to wild-type cells, expressed TH1 genes when recultured under conditions that drive differentiation into TH1 cells," they add.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.